An Interview with Lorna Moloney for Ancestral Connections Summer School 2016.

Eneclann’s own Fiona Fitzsimons met up recently with Lorna Moloney to discuss the annual Ancestral Connections Summer School in Genealogy. The Summer School is now in it’s 4th year, and has rapidly become a fixture in the genealogy calendar.

In 2016 Ancestral Connections will be held 19th to 24th June.

Fiona: Lorna, thanks for taking time to talk with me today. Let’s talk about the Summer School. First of all, where does the Summer School take place every year?

Lorna: The National University of Ireland, Cork University runs the Summer School as part of their adult education programme. We have a solid academic base to everything we do.

The lectures take place in the Western Gateway Building, so we have great teaching facilities.

As anyone who’s ever been on campus in Cork University knows, it’s a beautiful campus, in the historic city. We can provide excellent accommodation; and we’re situated close to many historic locations that are part of the summer school.

Fiona: How many days does the Summer School continue?

Lorna: The school runs from the 19th to the 24th of June, though delegates can book any number of days from 1 day up, if they prefer something shorter.

Fiona: So you have options say for someone who is only in Ireland for a week, and may want to mix study with touring?

Lorna: Yes, the summer school will cater for the number of days you want to attend, and will include with study, tours of the area around Cork City. For example, we have scheduled visits to Beal Na Bláth and Kilcrea Friary on offer.

Fiona: So, is the Summer School isn’t based entirely in the classroom then?

Lorna: No, while the talks are on campus, many workshops and archival trips will take place outside the classroom.

We’ve already planned walking tours of Cork City; and field-trips to Youghal, Spike Island, Cobh and Fota House. And, there’s an Irish cultural evening, for anyone left standing!

We’ve found that getting our audience out of the lecture theatre, and walking the landscape, or into the archives, ‘refreshes the palate’. Our delegates stay fresh and engaged through the week, because there’s always something new and interesting.

Fiona: What level do you cater for in the Ancestral Connections Summer School?

Lorna: The Summer School is suitable for people from all walks of life, from beginner, to enthusiast to expert.

In addition to talks in the class-room, our delegates get to choose activities outside the class-room, based on their own interests and skill-levels.

The Summer School is ideal for upskilling and getting exposure to good genealogy practise in a supported learning environment. Our delegates get the opportunity to work with some of the best genealogy practitioners in Irish family history.

Fiona: Where can people stay?

Lorna: Accommodation is provided by the University of Cork campus. We can offer some shared accommodation (shared apartments with separate bedrooms).

We can also recommend accommodation off-campus, with a range of Bord Failte approved hotels and B&Bs.

If staying off campus, we ask our delegates to make their bookings early, as Cork is popular with Irish and overseas tourists in the Summer!

Fiona: What is the cost of the Summer School?

Lorna: Prices vary depending on the number of days you want to attend, and the number of field trips.

At entry level we also offer 1 day tuition from €134.12.

You can book any number of days tuition and field trips, depending on what appeals to you.

The cost for the full Summer School, with 7-day accommodation and 3 fieldtrips costs €1094.12.

Concessions are available on all options. More info can be found on

Fiona: The Summer School is now in its’ 4th year. In a very short time, you’ve carved out a space in the Genealogy Calendar. How did you achieve this?

Lorna: The diaspora wants a solid safe base, to research from. One of the worst things that can happen, is they travel thousands of miles to Ireland, and leave with only a heraldic fridge magnet! At the Summer School we have access to the records online and in the archives and libraries.

We have built a strong profile in a short time, mainly through word-of-mouth recommendations. We’ve found the people that attend our school forge strong bonds, and remain in touch. Delegates from previous years continue to recommend us to their genealogy circle. It’s a great validation of what we do!

Fiona: Lorna, how do you keep things fresh every year?

Lorna: In 2016 we’re addressing the theme Roots to the Rising. Some of the key speakers at the School, Brian Donovan and you yourself Fiona, will contribute talks on tracing Irish rebel ancestors and the Irish Revolution 1913-23. What we’re doing at the Summer School, is the most comprehensive genealogical exploration of the Irish Revolution, in Ireland this year.

Fiona: It sounds like it’s going to be fun. One last question, who are your delegates, what kind of people attend every year?

Lorna: Our delegates are aged from their 30s to their 90s.We recruit mainly from overseas, from the Anglo-sphere. On a point of clarification, our delegates don’t need a ‘residency visa’ to attend the Summer School.

Fiona: Thanks Lorna, a pleasure talking with you, as always.

Lorna: Cheers, m’dear! I look forward to seeing you in Cork this Summer.

“The diaspora wants a solid safe base, to research from. One of the worst things that can happen, is they travel thousands of miles to Ireland, and leave with only a heraldic fridge magnet! At the Summer School we have access to the records online and in the archives and libraries”

Lorna Moloney

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